By Woodrow Bellamy III | August 2, 2017
A new report published by the Aircraft Electronics Assn. (AEA) shows business and general aviation operators showed strong demand for upgrading their aircraft with new avionics technology in the second quarter of 2017. AEA President Paula Derks says the business and general aviation market hasn’t seen the type of avionics sales activity that occurred in the first six months of 2017 in almost three years.
The report shows in the first six months of the year, total worldwide business and general aviation avionics sales amounted to $1,144,973,499.06, or more than $1.14 billion as reported by the participating companies. The figure represented a 2.7% increase in year-over-year sales compared to the first six months of 2016 amount of $1,115,259,960.19.
Sales during the second-quarter 2017 months of April, May and June in 2017 were $578,793,718.45, a 5.4% increase compared to the 2016 second-quarter sales of $549,161,254.23.
"It's encouraging to see a positive increase in year-over-year sales for two straight quarters, something we haven't experienced since 2014," said AEA President Paula Derks. "The retrofit market has seen the biggest growth in sales with a 26.3% increase compared to a year ago, which has helped offset a decline of 17.3% in forward-fit sales from this time in 2016."
While the report does not capture sales of every business and general aviation avionics manufacturer worldwide, it provides an adequate cross section of some of the the industry’s top suppliers globally. Aspen Avionics, Garmin, Gogo Business Aviation, Honeywell Aerospace, Rockwell Collins and Universal Avionics are among the 23 different reporting companies tracked by AEA’s quarterly avionics market report. The association says the number of participating companies can change on a revolving basis.
The report tracks the sale of all business and general aviation avionics sales, including cockpit and cabin software upgrades and non-certified aircraft electronics. AEA splits the report between forward fit and retrofit activity, with 56.2% of sales resulting from retrofit activity.
Prior to the first quarter of 2017, both forward and retrofit sales have been consistently down, for seven consecutive quarters, according to data tracked by previous AEA sales reports. After an increase of 4% in combined forward and retrofit sales in 2014, total sales declined by 4.4% in 2015 and 6.4% in 2016.
Executives from one of the reporting companies, Rockwell Collins, discussed sales of business jet avionics during their 2017 third quarter earnings call, on July 28, 2017.
“For the year, sales are playing out about as expected with bizjet OEM sales headwinds subsiding and the commercial systems aftermarket strengthening, due largely to the ADS-B mandate activity and increased bizjet cockpit retrofits,” said Rockwell Collins CEO Kelly Ortberg.
The AEA report also showed North America remains the world’s largest market for business and general aviation avionics sales. Companies that separated their sales between North American and international markets reported 70.6% of sales occurring in the U.S. and Canada.
CORRECTION: In the first six months of the year, total worldwide business and general aviation avionics sales amounted to $1,144,973,499.06, or more than $1.14 billion as reported by the participating companies. A previous version of this article stated $1.14 million. The article has been updated to reflect the change.